In our unflagging pursuit of urban-oriented edification for the cultivated American male, we have directed our (and your) attention to the many-hued spectrum of contemporary topics ranging from the pleasures of pipe-smoking to the perfect penthouse, from the hippest in humor to the finest in fiction, from jolie filles to haute cuisine. With this month's perceptive analysis of American furniture and its dynamic designers, by John Anderson, Executive Editor of Interiors magazine, playboy explores a seldom-scrutinized facet of modern man's metropolitan world. Like most things worth doing, however, this project was the product of arduous planning, and in this case, of high-level diplomacy. Under the able aegis of Picture Editor Vince Tajiri, America's six most influential and publicity-shy furniture designers – Charles Eames, George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Jens Risom and Harry Bertoia – were invited to a summit meeting in playboy's New York photo studio for the purpose of lensing a Big Six color portrait – the first of its kind. When the confrontation finally took place, the six competing creators began the shooting session in a mood of courteous coolness. But Tajiri resourcefully ordered up a pair of iced magnums of champagne, and the disparate temperaments waxed so warm to the chilled bubbly, and then to each other, that the history-making shot was recorded successfully within the hour. In the accompanying text, author Anderson defines the far-reaching impact of each man on his craft, traces the evolution they helped precipitate from the cold and machinelike spareness of the early Twenties to the warm and clean-lined softness of the early Sixties.
Playboy, July, 1961, Vol, 8, No. 7. Published monthly by HMH publishing Co., Inc., Playboy building, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Illinois. Subscriptions: In the U.S., its possessions, the pan American Union and Canada, $14 for three years, $11 for two years, $6 for one year. Elsewhere add $3 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Illinois, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director, 720 fifth Ave., New York 19, New York, Cl 5-2620; branch offices: Chicago, Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio St., MI 2-1000, Joe fall, midwestern advertising manager; Los Angeles, 8721 Beverly Blvd., OL 2-8790, Stanley L. Perkins, manager: San Francisco, 111 Sutter St., YU 2-7994, Robert E. Stephens. Manager; southeastern representative, the hal winter company, 7450 ocean terr., Miami beach, Florida, UN 5-2661.
The payola fuss has come and gone, and although we have never rooted for those whose connivings and felonies have shadowed our TV screens, it has always seemed to us native to lay the payola charge exclusively on the d.j.s and quiz-show producers. In particular, we've long noticed that a product reference in a magazine article or story is often gratefully acknowledged by a sizable sample of the referenced product, delivered promptly to the author's doorstep. This puts an added burden on the magazine editors, who must keep their blue pencils constantly at the ready while perusing manuscripts of the following ilk:
Like all journalists, Leon Uris writes easily and at length about what he knows at second hand. In his latest melodrama, Mila 18 (Doubleday, $4.95), his subject is the German invasion of Poland, the creation of the Warsaw ghetto as a prelude to the extermination of the Jews, and the heroic Jewish resistance – a moving subject movingly treated once before in John Hersey's The Wall. The last rabbi left in the ghetto says that "I believe" means "I remember," and Uris' intention clearly is to remind those of us who never knew, or who might like to forget, that in the spring of 1943, after the population of the ghetto had been decimated, a few hundred poorly armed and starving Jews held out against SS troops and the Wehrmacht for forty-two days. Since Mila 18 takes the form of a novel, there are love affairs, personal quarrels, politico-philosophical conversations, and some awkward attempts at humor thrown in to keep the reader, accustomed to such things in novels, reading along. Once the battle starts – and it doesn't start soon enough – the persuasive devices are no longer necessary. Some stories tell themselves.
Carnival!, the new David Merrick production, is the season's best musical for any number of reasons, chief among them being Gower Champion. As director he has kept Michael Stewart's adaptation of the film, Lili, moving at a speedy clip; as choreographer he rallies his circus folk – jugglers and acrobats, clowns, belly-dancers and roustabouts – in a series of explosive dances that fill the stage (and sometimes the aisles) with color and pandemonium. This is the sentimental story of Lili, the wide-eyed little stray who gets a job with a shabby circus and foolishly falls for a genially sinister magician called Marco the Magnificent. On hand for the happy ending, however, is the sulky, limping puppeteer who loved Lili at first sight but was too shy to talk to her except poignantly through his puppets. Anna Maria Alberghetti and Jerry Orbach are ideally cast as the lonely lovers; both can act and both have voices that do justice to Bob Merrill's graceful songs. Credit James Mitchell for a likable villain and an exciting acrobatic dance: Kaye Billiard for a couple of earthy ballads; Pierre Olaf, the diminutive comic of La Plume de Ma Tonte, for a wild fandango with a line of chorus girls and roustabouts; and Tom Tichenor for his quartet of engaging puppets. At the Imperial, 249 West 45th Street.
At last La Dolce Vita is here, after a two-year fanfare of strumpets and drums, and it's high praise to say that it is almost worth the hoopla. Federico Fellini, who made La Strada, and vice versa, has savagely sliced off a double-cross-section of sin and sellout in modern Rome. (The film's dedication could be: Nero, My God, to Thee.) Your guide on this three-hour tour of the misguided is a young scandal-sheet scribe with an eye for a quick lira and a shapely calf. We keep him company as he obliges a rich nympho; saves his mistress from a suicide attempt brought on by his unfaithfulness, then promptly skips off after a bosomy movie queen; cashes in on a fake miracle; and cavorts through the night with a debauched tribe of titled hell-raisers. His one anchor is an intellectual friend whom he hopes to emulate, and when that friend kills his children and commits suicide (insufficiently explained, by the way), the balloon really goes up for the newspaper man. Marcello Mastroianni is first-rate as the third-rate journalist, and Anouk Aimee, Yvonne Furneaux and Magali Noel are sound as belles. Anita Ekberg, in the movie-star role, measures up to its requirements. As an inventory of our era's errors, however, the script seems somewhat lopsided. What, not one noble Roman left in Rome? And isn't there more to the modern malaise than sexual depravity and avarice? You'll find no clues here to the whys of the matter – just a selection of symbolic symptoms. But though the treatment has more broads than depth, Fellini's direction is grippingly graphic throughout.
A phalanx of funnymen have filed past our reviewing stand this month. Dick Gregory in Living Black & White (Colpix) is a vinyl wrap-up of the sharp lines Gregory (On the Scene, June) has been flinging at the world on his swift ascent into the comic cosmos. Gregory deposes delightfully on a number of aspects of the social scene, with each segment intro'd by Chicago newscaster and close friend Alex Dreier. Dick delves into the Middle East situation ("You know darn well who's going to come out on top. You ever hear of a camel outrunning a Cadillac? . . . Ralph Bunche is in Israel trying to explain Sammy Davis. . . . Over here ham-'n'-eggeries are fronts for bookie joints. In Israel, bookie joints are fronts for ham-'n'-eggeries"), comments on Kennedy in the White House ("With Truman we had eight years of piano playing; with Eisenhower, eight years of golf; now we're going to have four years of bingo"), on his troubles before he made it ("My luck was so bad, I bought a suit with two pairs of pants and burned a hole in the jacket"), on his problems since he made it ("They say I'm a combination of Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman and Lenny Bruce. I'm all confused being three white boys and myself"). Let Gregory not be confused; he's very much himself and very funny indeed. Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America (Capitol) is unique in that it is, as the subtitle puts it, An Original Musical for Records. Volume One, The Early Years, is frantically Frebergian, possessed of a foxy wit and loaded to the gunwales with crafty nonsense. The LP opens with a rococo rendering of America, the Beautiful which contains the line "Purple mountains majesty above the two-cents plain,"goes on to an outrageously inaccurate but uproariously inventive scene between Columbus and Ferdinand y Isabella, pans in on Puritan New England for a tolerance tone poem (Take an Indian to Lunch This Week), surveys the sale of Manhattan Island to a chap named Peter Tishman, etches a vignette between George Washington and Betsy Ross in which George agonizingly vocalizes Look at the Colors You Chose, and builds to a swinging sonata on the Spirit of '76 capped by the words "highly military, script by Dore Schary, Revolutionary War." The LP tags off modestly with the line "The United States of America is a Stan Freberg Production."The effect of Jonathan Winters' wit is cumulative. He is not a specialist in one-line thrusts, nor does he build his monologs – or multicharacter skits – to inevitably memorable punch lines. He is, as you know by now, a master of characterization – a many-faceted actor among comics. On Here's Jonathan (Verve) he portrays an astonishing array of misfits. Among them are jet pilot Speed Davis, a U.S. senator, a faggoty plane designer (and a comparably swishy botany professor), Marshal Dillon and side-kick Chester, assorted pirates, a ship captain, a lawman in pursuit of Billy the Kid at age ten, Rollo the space robot, a seven-and-a-half-year-old child psychiartist, and such stock Winters wonders as moron Elwood P. Suggins and nutsy Maude "Granny" Frickert, the definitive portrait of senility in the sticks. Season these with sound effects, ranging from the wail of a speeding trailer truck to the shrieking of a chicken hawk, and you have a repertoire that is unique. We hugely admire the artistry involved and urge you to hear this tour de force.
[Q] How can I explain to overinquisitive male drinking companions that I have no taste for bull-session bellowing about my rather peripatetic but nevertheless private sex life? – R. H., Los Angeles, California.
Did's drunkenness was nitrogen narcosis. We called the seizure "I'ivresses des grandes profondeurs." The first stage is a mild anesthesia, after which the diver becomes a god. Cousteau: "The Silent World"
Willis Braintree was a young man who had never wanted much out of life. "Why congregate at the goal line," he used to say, "when there's more room in the middle of the field?" So people pushed Willis around. He was the kind of fellow speed cops picked up for driving one mile over the limit, the kind who always flunked personality tests and did miserably on those magazine quizzes that rate your executive talent – the kind who's stopped and searched by store detectives every time he goes to buy some hair tonic at the supermarket. There was only one thing Willis desired, and that was to have a little authority over someone. Over anyone. His was a typical psychological problem. Most people who suffered from it, though, were able to find release by taking jobs in immigration offices or on postal routes. Where Willis differed was that he disliked uniforms and the kind of bossy people who exploited them, and felt a positive loathing for the regimentation that seemed to go with wearing them. Yet he felt he should try this route to salvation, which had (the textbooks said) bolstered the egos of a lot of people. The trouble was that when he tried to get such a job the personnel people laughed at him, and if he was actually taken on, the other men in uniforms who had been around much longer proceeded to boss and abuse Willis so badly that he had to get out.
About a Million years Ago, an unprepossessing primate discovered that his fore-limbs could be used for other purposes besides locomotion. Objects like sticks and stones could be grasped, and, once grasped, were useful for killing game, digging up roots, defending or attacking, and a hundred other jobs. On the third planet of the Sun, tools had appeared; and the place would never be the same again.
Exuberance, Finesse and high imagination characterize U.S. furniture design today. For the crusading era of modern is over. In the early years of Twentieth Century design, a chair – to its creator, at least – was very much more than something to sit on, more even than something pleasant to look at. An early modern chair was a resoundingly significant expression of the age, a concrete rendition of abstract structural principles, an almost belligerent assemblage of mechanical parts in which every bolt was paraded with all the bravado of Erich von Stroheim's monocle. Early modern thrived on dogma ("Form Follows Function!" "Less Is More!" "Structure Is Beauty!") that rivaled Milton in Puritan passion; it paid deepest obeisance to the machine and let the softer human sensibilities accommodate themselves as best they could; and it dwelt, along with pre-Bach and post-Bartók, strictly among the intelligentsia.
Sell Celeste to Leroy Farnish. And buy Dorcas. The thought came winging in from out of nowhere without warning. I was shaving and through the bathroom wall I could hear my dear Celeste, my sweet Celeste, perhaps even Celeste, my girl of the Limberlost, fixing my breakfast. To keep from cutting my throat out of sheer exuberance, I tossed the thought into nowhere, but it came whistling back with the inevitability of a boomerang. I had to stop shaving and grip the sides of the lavatory. When I had laughed myself out, I finished shaving, the happy tears glistening in the lather.
At least half my life has been spent on beginning Conversations: – "What do you do?," "what school did you go to?," "Do you usually never come to parties like this? Its funny I usually never come to parties like this."
Before the Blue-Green eyes of a chestnut-tressed, twenty-year-old native New Yorker named Sheralee Conners–as before the unswerving gaze of thousands of female fame-and-fortune-seekers from shore to shore–Gotham shimmers like a modern-day Xanadu of fifty-storied pleasure domes, antenna-spired TV tabernacles and long-green mansions of high fashion and finance. These naive newcomers to the Unforbidden City ordinarily arrive with little more than a pocketful of hope for a well-padded niche in the fashion, publishing, or communications kingdoms. Sheralee, contrarily, pursues her aspirations with a city-hipness that would leave these Janies-come-lately olive with envy. Perspicaciously, she chases after three simultaneous dreams, on the worldly-wise theory that at least one of them is even money to come true. Hankering to fly high as a big-time thrush, she sings willingly for the nonce as an off-screen oriole in sixty-second TV sales-pitches. One of a lithe-limbed modeling elite, Sheralee labors Dior to Dior in Manhattan's well-groomed world of haute couture. A long-time scholar of cakewalk, charleston and gavotte, she also teaches terpsichore, wants to start a summer camp seminar in the Berkshires for serious students of modern dance. Amidst all this job-juggling, she still manages to steal moments for surf-splashing at nearby Jones Beach; for alfresco listening in Lewisohn Stadium; and for Sunday afternoon canters along Central Park's meandering bridle paths, pursued by galloping huntsmen eager to lead her down the bridal–or primrose–path. The end of this long but lively journey into night finds her lampably lamplit and birthday-suited for forty well-earned winks.
Don't think, Harrison told himself. It was always best not to dwell on it too much beforehand. Best not to plan or map out what you're going to say. Just let it come, let it flow, gush, spout spontaneously. Free association, that was the ticket. And I ought to know, he sighed to himself as he parked his convertible in the one empty space on the fashionable block: I ought to know – I'm a veteran.
Named after a long-defunct Indian chief who couldn't have been less interested in paleface pleasures, Paris' famed Crazy Horse Saloon, a femme-filled pulchritude pavilion offering some of the most lighthearted and lightly-garbed entertainment in the City of Lights, now has a sister salle de strip – Le Crazy Horse, a devilishly delightful carnival of the unclad pitched in the City of Angels. The domestic version (on the site of the old Ciro's) is epidermis-impresario Frank Sennes' latest venture in a string of girlie revues that includes productions at Vegas' Desert Inn and Stardust Hotel. Sennes, whose specialty is importing Gallic gaieties entrancingly in toto, has a quarter-of-a-million dollars tied up in his current undressing room. The Sunset strippery debuted early this year with Le Crazy Horse Revue, giving Hollywood, for the first time, a female-focused extravaganza executed with charm, wit and imagination, a formula which proved most successful in its Right Bank counterpart. The Parisian boîte is festooned with French-flavored memorabilia of the Wild West (including a batch of tintypes of the chief himself) and features a flock of young ladies flinging themselves wholeheartedly into wildly imaginative variations on the ecdysiast theme. Hollywood's entry, as a switch, sports a Paris decor spiced with queen-sized Vargas paintings and just as diverse a group of take-it-offerings.
Longchamp, one of the two race courses in Paris' Bois de Boulogne, is a regal locale for the sport of kings. Secluded in the heart of the inimitably beautiful park, Longchamp hardly seems a part of bustling Paris life, yet it is but a ten-minute drive from the glamorous turmoil of the Place de I'Étoile. To the track come the citizens of Paris and the elite of the world, royalty and sportsmen eager to view splendid horses competing for sizable purses. Since the course was constructed (following the gift of the Bois to the city by Napoleon III in 1852), a string of the Continent's most challenging races has been run at Long-champ. The Prix du Cadran, in mid-May, matches the British Ascot Gold Cup for pomp and excitement. The Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, in October, is a major national sweep-stake. But the most impressive of all the Longchamp races and the European plum for three-year-olds – climaxing the Grande Semaine of racing in June – is the three-thousand-meter Grand Prix de Paris, with President de Gaulle himself presenting the winner's trophy (the purse exceeds $100,000). It was to Longchamp for this colorful European sporting event that our nomadic impressionist LeRoy Neiman went in search of subjects. "Weaving through the Bois in a taxi, watching Frenchmen and their women riding in horse-drawn carriages or relaxing in the grass with the ever-present picnic lunch complete with fresh fruit and bottle of wine, it seems unlikely that the activity of a race track could be harbored within the park," Neiman says. "Yet, when the cab pulls into the track area, there is no mistaking the environment. The parking enclosure is packed with Rolls-Royces, Facel-Vegas, attendant chauffeurs and the fashionable track clientele.
The story is told of a Scottish archer on duty in France who fell in love with the beautiful wife of a haberdasher. He courted her ardently whenever he could, but to no avail, for the lady always refused him. She told her husband what this archer wanted of her, and the haberdasher decided to take strong measures.
Playboy's mighty three-inch screen is again aglow with a showing of drearily-dated late-night flicks – with our lampooning lines affixed. As you should know by this time, screwball subtitling à la Teevee Jeebies is a game any number can play: next time you're cornered by a re-re-rerun, just douse the audio and supply your own outrageous dialog, just as we've done here. The more ludicrously far-out your do-it-yourself commentary gets, the more fun for all. Like so.